Sporting Q&A

Q. Does anyone have any facts about the effect of a very early goal in a football match? My impression is that the team that scores in the first minute, or very soon after, rarely goes on to win the match.

A. There have been a couple of high-profile examples recently. Manchester United's comeback from two behind after 11 minutes in Turin on Wednesday and Charlton scoring after just five minutes against Spurs on Tuesday, only to lose 4-1. Thinking further back England scored after just two minutes of their Euro 96 semi-final against Germany and we all know what happened after, and Spurs scored two minutes into the 1987 FA Cup final against Coventry, only to lose 3-2 after extra time. I don't know if more widespread statistics would confirm a general trend that it is detrimental to score too early, but quick goals certainly did not do any of the aforementioned teams any good.

JAMES STEEPLING

Bradford

Q. How it is possible, hypothetically, for a footballer to score three successive goals without any other player touching the ball?

A. After scoring an own goal near the end of the first half the same player takes the kick-off which hits the referee and rebounds in for an another own goal. Our hero kicks off again but before anyone else can touch the ball the referee stops play as he spots a second spare ball on the pitch. At the subsequent drop ball, our hero kicks the ball on the half-volley directly into the net. Half-time comes and he goes into a darkened room for a lie-down.

DAVE MODROWSKI

London NW1

Answers please

Q. Is the town of Preston unusual in having two town teams of national sports with unique names? We have our football team, North End, and our rugby union side, Grasshoppers.

NEALE J E ROACH

Mellor

Lancashire

Q. With the first-class cricket season starting earlier than ever, there must be a fair chance that someone will score 1,000 runs by the end of May. But who was the quickest to 1,000 runs and on what date did he pass the milestone?

GORDON HIBBERSON

Leicester

Q. I have only seen real tennis played at Lord's. Are there any other major centres for the sport? Who is the British Champion? Is there a World Champion?

KEVIN MAGUIRE

Batley

Q. After 33 matches, Airdrie had lost five more home matches than they had won. Away from home they had won nine more than they had lost. Has any other club deviated so wildly from the norm of their home form being better than their away form?

TIM MICKLEBURGH

Grimsby

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